Please enjoy these excerpts from Wonderfultales and More Wonderfultales from the Land of the Seven Kingdoms.
The lightning had become even more ferocious, and the wind shrieked loudly. Upon arriving at the rooftop, Ever, had accidentally run to the right, while Lyssa darted to the left, Rahn chose to follow Ever.
Blackwood raced to the far side of the roof to a position beside the pole that flew the family standard, which snapped like a whip in the wind. Once next to the banner, he discovered to his dismay that there was no escape, he was cornered at the roof’s edge! Perhaps he would have to jump over the surrounding wall, but no, the fall would be deadly in itself, and what about Lyssa? Rahn drew closer, snarling and snapping ferociously as he prepared to kill the two-legged creature. Lyssa, her once beautiful dress, wet and in tatters, quickly approached the large wolf from the left side as the enormous sound of thunder beat the sky like a powerful demanding war drum.
“RAHN! Don’t touch him!” she shouted commandingly at the Mad Wolf, in a combination of Warvish and human speech.
“What? Don’t touch him!” Rahn said, letting out a ferocious growl, and tilting his head to gaze in the Wolf Queen’s direction, “Do you love the Two-Leg murder more than your own clan?” He growled out loudly, as the lightning reflected in his orange eyes.
“It is because of my clan that I love him.” Lyssa replied adamantly.
“Then I will kill you, just as I kill this one!” Rahn barked condemningly, baring his fangs and turning back to face Blackwood once again, preparing to spring. “Now die in my teeth Two-Legs!” Rahn roared as he leaped forward.
Ever braced himself for the Mad Wolf’s impact, and at the same time, Lyssa charged in to do battle with the beast. The moment of judgment had arrived. Still, none could have guessed what the storm had in store for them. At the very instant, when the three collided in the same spot, a gigantic bolt of lightning ripped the heavens apart and slashed down, striking the flagpole and blasting away the stonewall of the roof's edge, and when it did, Blackwood, Lyssa and Rahn pitched over the precipice. Lyssa screamed as she tumbled forward.
“Now King,” Torwinn directed firmly, “Keep your promise, and send me on my way.” A maniacal grin crossed the King’s face, for he had no intention of releasing the elf.
“Surely there is ONE, more secret you can tell me my friend.” The King asked slyly, eyeing his prisoner.
“Sire I should not.” Torwinn replied hesitantly.
“My castle dungeon is hungry for guests!” Galadar growled in a hollow voice, “And you could be one of them.”
“Oh King, there are some things for which mortal man should not ask.” The elf cautioned.
“TELL ME!” The King ordered thunderously.
“Well King Galadar, there is ONE more secret, I could tell you.” Torwinn answered slowly. The greedy flicker that had been in the monarch’s eyes now became a blazing fire. “Please release my bonds that I might show you as well.” The Nor-elf added.
“You will not try to flee, will you?” Galadar asked anxiously, wringing his hands together, “For if you did, I would have to hunt you down and condemn you to death.”
“No great King.” Torwinn said soothingly, “For your cruelty is well known, and I would not wish to be the subject of your wrath.” With those words, an evil smile smeared across the King’s features as he stooped down to release the harmless elf, at that Torwinn rose to his feet.
“Now tell me, TELL ME!” Galadar insisted, as greed contorted his features into a fearsome mask.
“Sire, do you know of SHADOWGRAY?”
The days continued to pass by as they had always done. One day however proved to be very different, very early one fine morning, as the sun rose in a clear blue sky, when Lo-Tan was doing, what he had always done, which was to work hard in his fields, planting and digging, digging and planting, that it happened. The day was already growing quite hot, for summer had begun, and before long Lo-Tan stood up to wipe away the sweat from his brow. As he took a deep breath, and dried his face, the old farmer glanced toward his little home.
Suddenly his oval eyes grew wide with horror! There, going into his house, was a large orange cat with a terribly hungry look in its big yellow eyes.
Quickly snatching up a long pole of hollowwood, Lo-Tan raced as fast as his old legs would carry him across the field, screaming loudly as he went.
“HI YAH! HI YAH! HI YAH!” He cried loudly, trying to frighten the sinister cat that by that time had gone into the house. The little old farmer nearly stumbled twice, as he arrived at the door to his home. “HI YAH!” He yelled out, as he found the orange cat, and gave it a stinging smack with the hollowwood stick. “HI YAH!” He cried at the top of his lungs, as he chased the hissing creature beneath the table. “HI YAH!” He screamed at last, as the hungry cat ran hissing and spitting out the door and shot off into the nearby weeds.
“Little one, little one where are you? LITTLE ONE!” Lo-Tan called out, desperately looking for the little basket where the sparrow had been. Soon he discovered the basket, which had been completely torn apart. “Little one, where are you?” He whispered, fearing the cat had done its worst. “Little one!”
“Faster, I must go faster.” She breathed, as beams from the moon began to slip into the forest, quickly the ray’s brightness increased. It was then that the brave girl saw an amazing sight. When the first beam hit the tallest tree in the forest, why, it began to glitter and sparkle, it was the silver anglewood tree her father had spoken of, the same one she had seen the night before from afar. At that instant, she arrived at the base of the ancient tree. All about her was illuminated with a bath of silvery light and the tree’s three pointed leaves glowed like little candle flames.
“Up, I must go up!” She said without hesitation as she grabbed the lowest branch with her carry sack over her shoulder and shot up the tree. Quickly, branch after branch, she went higher. Soon she was halfway up when suddenly, out of nowhere, the wind arrived! The leaves around her began to dance and the air was filled with millions of miniature rainbows, as the moonlight reflected off of each and every leaf. Up and up, she raced, reaching and stretching, grabbing and pulling.
“Oh no! She cried, “The wind is up, and the moon is nearly here.” That is when it happened, the brown carry sack snagged, catching on a branch, and because it was behind her, Taldia could not see to release it, she was stuck! She wriggled and squirmed but could not escape the branch’s firm grasp. It almost seemed that the silver tree was trying to stop her! By then the wind had become incredibly strong, the tall anglewood tree, began to sway mightily to and fro as Taldia held on with all of her strength.
“Please old tree let me pass,” She whispered, “I must succeed.” Then, remembering the tale her father had told her she added, “Please, PRINCESS!” With a powerful snap of wind, the silver branches released their hold on Taldia. “Thank you!” She shouted at the top of her voice over the shrieking of the wind. The moon, having crested over the horizon, now headed for the top of the great tree. Up she went. Hand over hand, branch over branch as fast as she could go, the moon was coming!
Suddenly to her surprise, she was there, having reached the very top of the Silver Anglewood tree, and there was the moon! Silver beams flashed all around her as the wind blew ferociously, causing her red hair to whip about.
Placing herself on the uppermost branch, Taldia extended her arms upward, reaching and reaching as moonlight filled her hands. Instantly she closed her fingers on a moonbeam and jumped high! For a split second, she was neither on the earth, nor in the sky, but somewhere in between. Then like grabbing a hold of a horse’s mane, she caught the moon and swung herself right up to the top.
The Bear King was visible once more coming out from the bushes. He had cleverly confused the boy and forced him to run in this direction.
Shiona now ran as if he could fly, leaping over broken gray stones and ancient tree roots, ignoring his wounded ankle. Racing as quickly as possible, he made straight for the flat opening at the top of the cliff; again, he stumbled, and fell sprawling head first at the top, stopping only inches from the edge, looking back he saw the bear less than a hundred paces behind. The midday sun shone brightly as the lad anxiously looked over the rocky edge, only to see far below the churning waters of the Great River that twisted and turned making their way south toward the Forgotten Ocean.
“Oh, father what have I done?” The boy muttered anxiously. Seeing that his prey could not escape, the Bear King began to slow in his pursuit.
Shiona began to feel a very strong fear building up in his heart, as the bear came closer. Fifty paces, forty paces, there was nowhere to run, and Shiona could once again see the burning black eyes clearly. Thirty paces, twenty paces, only the yawning chasm falling to the river meant escape. The fearful boy could hear the bear's rumbling breath and see his sharp white teeth. Ten paces, the Bear King halted. The animal now raised himself up on his hind feet, and when he had done so Shiona caught his breath in horror, for he could not believe the tremendous size of the beast. Slowly it began to step forward. The boy crept backward, until his hands felt the edge of the cliff drop away behind him, this would be his end.
Shiona saw an unreasoning madness in the creature's eyes that he had never seen in an animal before. The bear opened his huge jaws allowing his white teeth to sparkle in the sunlight. Thick strings of foam dangled out from around its mouth, and upon seeing that, the boy's eyes went even wider with terror.
Shiona’s heart cried out silently as his last moment arrived. The giant bear was about to swing forward with a massive paw when Shiona shouted out.
Then the Queen added, “Someone must do something, or the blue of the sky will all pour out leaving the entire world in darkness!” She then turned and looked Ki’tea straight in the eyes.
“What, what can I do, I’m so small?” Ki’tea asked, as her burnished face began to fill with tears.
“SOMEONE MUST PATCH THE SKY!” Lin’dell stated.
Suddenly Ki’tea understood, as Lin’dell’s words from earlier rang in her ears, ‘By the threads we weave today. . .’ and with that she said the four most important words she would ever speak, she said,
“I can fix that.”
Then she said it again louder, “I can FIX THAT.” Lin’dell smiled, as Ki’tea said it one last time at the top of her voice, so that even the wind paused to take notice,
“I CAN FIX THAT!” The world seemed silent for just an instant as Ki’tea decided upon a plan. “If I can get to the peak of the pyramid, I might be able to. . .” The girl’s words trailed off as she turned and bolted off, running as swiftly as she could, the green avarsilk bag clutched in her left hand. Ki’tea dashed past confused residents with gapping mouths looking up into the damaged sky. Her long black hair whipped behind her as she ran ever faster, slicing through the air like a lightning snake striking at its prey. Ki’tea leaped over a wagon, that had been abandon by two children running for the safety of their mother, and nearly fell face first, but at the last instant she was able to regain her balance and pressed on to the center of Chiemazall. No doubt, Ki’tea was the fastest runner of all of the Hepqotals.
Moments later, she arrived at the base of the Archives, and started climbing the many steps that led to the top of the pyramid. Skipping every other one, the ten-year-old raced up the perfectly even steps. Ki’tea exerted every ounce of strength available to her, and finally, after what seemed like hours, which was really only moments, reached the top, exhausted. The four-sided cone at the top was surrounded by a narrow walkway, the final step, which was barely enough for the girl to stand on.
Ki’tea’s nimble fingers quickly opened the small green sack. Reaching in she carefully removed the silver needle called Starlight, with the invisible thread called Wonder. Balancing herself on the topmost stone of the pyramid, she reached her arms as high as she could, only to discover the worst.
“OH NO! I can’t reach the sky, WHAT SHALL I DO?” She wailed in distress. For a moment, all hope seemed lost as she considered her plight. Still trying to reach the sky, she stretched upward; it was then that something unexpected happened. Suddenly she found a black string tangled about her arm. It was the ki’eat string! The string of fine goat hair nearly slipped past her fingers when she grasped it with a snap, clenching it firmly. Then, no sooner had she done so, when she was yanked off of the top of the pyramid, and found herself rising up into the air, like an arrow released from a powerful bow. The ki’eat was pulling her upward, toward the top of the sky! Wind raced past her as she grew closer and closer to the terrible rip in the blue above. The black gap yawned like some huge hungry mouth, as the essence of the sky slipped out into the void beyond. Clouds quickly vanished through the opening, as they were sucked out with a sound that was as deep as a plunging waterfall. With the ki’eat string in one hand and the silver needle in the other, little Ki’tea of the Hepqotals suddenly arrived at the edge of the great rip. Releasing the ki’eat’s string, she lurched to the side and grabbed hold of the sky. Firmly holding the silver needle in the other hand, and using all of her strength, she pierced the edge of the sky with Starlight the silver needle.
He walked for several minutes when he sensed that he had entered a huge chamber with ancient, cracked windows set high in the walls, and even though it was daytime outside, only a slight faded light filtered into the great room which extended into darkness at the far end.
Once more Corden heard voices in the distance; he was about to sprint across the floor to the opposite side when a deep rumbling sound riveted his attention. Something else was in the room!
The stable boy froze and strained his eyes to discover the source of the living thing that protected the room. All he carried was his long, sharp work-knife, but that would have to do.
Several heartbeats passed before the sound occurred again, and with it a noise like that of large leathery feet—or to be more exact, claws. A MONSTER!
In the dim light, he spied an ancient sword that lay abandoned on the filthy floor, who had once carried it, he would never know, so with great care he picked it up and moved as silently as he could.
A sudden black shadow overwhelmed the girl and as she looked up, to her horror she saw an Aeron as black as night, and she suddenly realized the darkness she had seen at the center of the red cloud had been this massive creature.
In an instant, the huge bird snatched her out of the air like a helpless leaf, and in a heartbeat, he raced to a great height.
“WHO ARE YOU? LET ME GO!” Taldia cried out in fright.
“I AM KA’RASH!” The great black Aeron hissed, as Taldia struggled in his clutches, striking him as hard as she could with her staff, which snapped in two like a twig. “And this day I shall become King of the Wind Nation.”
“SkyGa’ard is the King of Wings!” She blurted out. “The prince. . .”
“I will kill the prince.” Ka’rash sneered viciously as they reached a dizzying pinnacle, at which time a streak of lightning lanced past them with a resounding boom.
“NO, NO, NO!” she cried out, fearing for her life. “LET ME GO!” Taldia ordered, “LET ME GO!” The black bird peered down at her and simply said,
“OF COURSE.” and opened his claw, dropping her.
“AAAAAAhhhhhh!” The terrified girl screamed as she plummeted to the ground like an ironstone, then regaining her thoughts, she stretched out her hand to take hold of the wind once more, and as she closed her fingers on the threads of air her descent began to slow. But then, without warning, Akkaw the crow general attacked her hand.
With a grim hate-filled look on his face toward Zero, Kendrak caused Simneth to swerve sharply to the left, nearly striking the little Sage dragon, but Pog had been watching Kendrak’s maneuvers throughout the race and expected a dirty trick; after all, some of the other contestants had been eliminated because of Kendrak’s calculated moves.
Another rumble suddenly shook the entire cavern, causing several large blocks of stone to release and drop from the ceiling. Attempting to avoid them, Kalinda lost her lead to Pog and Zero, who shot into the front of the course.
Traveling as fast as they could, they eliminated the first tunnel, and had headed into the second when Kendrak came up on Pog’s side, passing his sister.
“You won’t be winning this race, you little zet.” Kendrak insulted, causing Simneth to veer to the side, pushing Pog back; Kalinda thereby regained the lead, as they shot into the third tunnel. Another terrific growl came from the cavern, as if it were a giant maw that wished to devour someone, and at the same time the entire mountain shook. Outside onlookers gasped as the mountain belched fire from the one and only opening that led in or out of Cavern Doom.
Kendrak, thinking only of regaining the lead, urged his dragon ahead even harder as an enormous chunk of stone broke free from the ceiling. Cutting his sister off to dodge it, he forced Kalinda right into the path of the plummeting stone.
Pog had been approaching from the opposite side and did not see what happened next. The large sharp stone mass struck Lira and sent her and Kalinda spinning out of control downward!
The full moons of Eiif and Auga had just crept above the distant horizon, casting enough light that no lamp was necessary, as Alon and Dilana left the cottage and walked up past the little stream toward the thick patch of wildflowers.
The noises of happy little insects could be heard as they went. Dilana’s likeness of Myrion had nearly faded when she spoke.
“I do not have much longer with you, Alon,” she expressed with soft urgency, “for I must return to the Light.”
“Dear one, though you resemble Myrion, I have come to know you as Dilana, and I do not think I can let you go.”
“I feel the same way, Alon,” she began with heartfelt words. “I wish that I could stay with you, but the choice is not mine.” With that, a single, gentle tear escaped her eye and rolled slowly down her cheek, causing her eyes to open in surprise, and a warm smile filled her face, and a gentle laugh escaped her lips.
Alon’s tears also began to flow as they traveled freely down his face. Unable to resist, they embraced a final time.
“Dilana,” With his cheek against hers Alon whispered, almost afraid to be heard, “I love you.” She too, whispered her love in response. Slowly they parted, knowing the inevitable was upon them. A sudden deep silence filled the land like the wait before a powerful storm, and no sound could be heard.
Then from above there came a voice, strong, yet smooth, embodying confidence, and it said,
“You may stay, child, with Alon, the rest of his days, with all that was Myrion, if you wish, or you may return as you arrived.” Alon heard the Voice and the words of the Light and he trembled, not even knowing why. Dilana stepped out into the garden with the high reaches wildflowers and knelt down. Alon watched on, not knowing what would happen next.
It seemed that as she knelt the wildflowers overwhelmed her so that Alon could no longer discern her form from the lumas. With that, a single spark of light rose from the garden and began to float upward.
The woman was leaving the forest, but darkness was descending faster than she had expected. Her path took her past a gaping pit that had been washed out by a powerful spring storm that year. A passing cloud blotted out the light unexpectedly and in the near darkness she found that she could not clearly see its treacherous edge and before she knew it, she felt the dirt weaken beneath her feet as it fell away.
“AAAAHHHH!” she screamed suddenly, as her balance tilted sharply; she was pitching over the edge heading toward the sharp rocks below when out of the shadows a strong hand darted out to catch her by the wrist, stopping her short.
“Are you hurt?” Wodart asked, as he pulled the woman to safety.
“No, I don’t think so,” she replied as the obscuring cloud uncovered part of the moons, allowing a small amount of illumination once more. “Thank you, thank you very much.”
“It is night; you could have been harmed.”
“I could not stay away from the forest.”
“But in the darkness, you could not see.” he added.
“I let the moonlight guide me; but for the cloud that caused the darkness, I would not have fallen into the pit.” Then she asked, “Who are you?” She could only see his silhouette. Looking down, he replied in a shy uneven voice,
“Wo… Wod. . .art.”
“Woodenheart; that’s a different name,” she responded, saying the name as she thought she had heard it.
“Child of Fellow, if you choose this course, you will be one with the Hadroom forevermore; you and Wodart as one. Is that truly what you want?” Wodart, gazed into Lyyra’s deep brown eyes, smiled, and simply said,
“You can never go back.” She nodded her head, in understanding and was about to speak when at that moment Rilliam, and his men arrived.
“Where is she?” he demanded, seeing Wodart first. Lyyra then stepped out from behind him.
“Give me the gem!” Rilliam demanded.
“No, you have no right.” Wodart opposed him. Rilliam drew his sword and in a single motion thrust forward to strike Wodart, but Lyyra, seeing the danger, moved between, and cried out,
“NO!” But the lethal sword was already in motion, and he stabbed Lyyra squarely. Her eyes went wide, whereupon she crumpled to the ground.